Renowned artist Luke Jerram and the National Trust, in partnership with the Forestry Commission England, have announced that landmark art project Withdrawn has been granted planning permission for its installation in Leigh Woods, and revealed an exciting event programme starting on 17th April.


The project, which will see five fishing boats installed amongst the picturesque backdrop of Leigh Woods in Bristol, will ask audiences to consider the impacts of over-fishing and marine pollution on the future of our planet and eco-system. A series of talks, theatre performances, interactive arts and concerts are planned to take place on the boats throughout their tenure in the woodlands.

Ruth Gooding, Programme Manager of the National Trust’s Trust New Art Bristol, explains,

Now that we have planning permission we can move forward and ensure this brilliant project opens as planned in April.

Leigh Woods is a remarkable woodland and we have worked closely with specialists and our partners Forestry Commission England to ensure the project will cause minimal disturbance… We hope the events programme will bring the woodland to life and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds.

The events will kick off with concerts from Bristol Youth Choir on 25th April, performing songs inspired by a sea theme with shanties and sing-along tunes for the audience. Cyclists will be invited to a two-wheeled drive-in movie night on 3rd or 4th June, while families will be invited to cycle with Sustrans to the boats for a picnic and nautical themed storytelling on Saturday 1st August.

Withdrawn will be a dramatic backdrop for a week of performances of The Tempest, a show staged by the Butterfly Theatre as part of Bristol Shakespeare Festival. This promenade performance will take place from 11th – 17th July with two shows per evening and a matinee at the weekend.

Mayfest will host a series of Nightwalks with Tom Bailey through the woods, discovering sounds, exploring the history of the forest, and visiting the moonlit boats in the dark. The project will also be part of Bristol Walking Festival with The Wonders of Leigh Woods Walk, while The Cabot Institute will host a series of talks about the fishing industry and climate change, accompanied by delicious fish suppers cooked by local Michelin Starred Chef Josh Eggleton.

Luke Jerram, Artist, explains;

It is great to be collaborating with such exciting organisations to animate the boats and explore ideas connected to our changing seas. Audiences will be able to enjoy Withdrawn as a space for quiet contemplation but many surprising events will be taking place throughout the summer.

Withdrawn is funded by Arts Council England as part of the Bristol 2015 European Green Capital programme.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said:

The range of events and activities planned around Withdrawn is terrific and there are lots of opportunities for people to come along and get involved in the debate or just reflect on the haunting installation.  Our support for Bristol 2015 means that great art and culture are right at the heart of the programme for European Green Capital, giving us all a new way to think about the issues.

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